I struggled with starting Mechanicum by Graham McNeill. I love the author, but the Adeptus Mechanicus could be my least favorite faction in the WH40k universe. Okay, that’s not fair. The Tau are my least favorite. But that’s not important right now. I’ve always found the Adeptus Mechanicus to be super creepy. The techmarines don’t bother me much, but the Tech Priests of Mars? Downright creepy.
So yes, I was rather hesitant as to why I would care about this book in particular. Then again, it couldn’t be worse than Battle for the Abyss, right?
Yeah, I had nothing to worry about.
Rise of the Dark Mechanicus
I was always curious as to how some of the Adeptus Mechanicus sided with Horus. Obviously I knew they would, because I’ve come across the Dark Mechanicum before AND they did build the Furious Abyss for the Word Bearers. But what was so enticing about joining forces with corrupt code? For a faction of people that prided themselves on knowledge and perfect coding, it was baffling as to how they would embrace corruption.
Silly me, I didn’t think about their thirst for knowledge. They are basically the Thousand Sons of science. And all it took was Horus Lupercal offering them the forbidden fruit of the Vaults of Moravec. The Fabricator General is already pissy in that he feels they are slaves for the Emperor, and he certainly hasn’t forgiven the Emperor for declaring the vaults as forbidden. It really wasn’t too hard in the end to lure him to the dark side of coding.
A Dragon Sidequest
I had no idea how Dalia Cythern fit into this story throughout most of it. She did have a remarkable connection to machines via the warp, but I predicted her purpose was to fight against the Dark Mechanicus, to force them to leave Mars. Obviously, I was way off, as her purpose was really to become the next Guardian of the Dragon of Mars.
I immediately researched this Dragon after completing the book, because it was never fully described. I adored the reference to the Emperor being Saint George when he conquered the dragon in that myth, but was the Dragon of Mars really just a dragon or something else? Lots of theories point to the Dragon of Mars being the Void Dragon, aka the most powerful C’tan in the galaxy. However, all of these theories admit that nowhere does it explicitly state that the Dragon of Mars is indeed this C’tan. At the same time, it does make sense for them to be one in the same.
I’m not sure why this is considered such the great lie of Mars, but perhaps that’s because it makes perfect sense to me that the Emperor has been orchestrating the galaxy’s destiny since the beginning of time. Then again, I am trying to logic a time period in WH40k history where the inhabitants hate this world of conquest and unification.
How Science Was Lost
Another piece of the WH40k puzzle that always confused me was HOW so much knowledge of the 31st millennium was lost. When the Emperor fell, it makes sense that a lot was lost. The disappearance of the Primarchs also explains how some other pieces were lost. But how did the Adeptus Mechanicus lose so much? The Dark Mechanicus certainly did not take over all of the Mechanicum, so how did they lose all this knowledge regarding Great Crusade technology?
So yeah, I didn’t expect the Dark Mechanicus to win the war on Mars. I didn’t expect all Loyalists to self-destruct their forges with them inside. My heart broke when Adept Zeth went down with her forge. She was obviously working on the prototype for what keeps the Emperor alive, which led me to believe she was the driving force behind His current throne. But all of that, gone. All of the Loyalist research, gone.
As soon as Mars was lost, that was it for science and technology. The only living scientist as smart as the Tech Priests combined was the Emperor, and well, we know what happened to Him. Horus, in his blind rage against his father, didn’t think once what the consequences could be if Mars was lost. For as smart as he was before Erebus got his hands on him, it’s incredibly heartbreaking overall.
It appears to be all downhill from here as we move to everything that went on outside of Ferrus and Fulgrim at Istvaan V, but at the same time, there are so many books to go before the Siege of Terra. Good Lord, what am I thinking?
Twelve books down, 42 to go.
Horus Hearsay is dedicated to Keri’s journey through the Horus Heresy saga. The chronicling of the Horus Heresy began over ten years ago, with currently 54 books in total, not counting The Primarchs series or the various short stories. Horus Hearsay will only cover the main novels.